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Cabinet Source: May Could Resign if She Suffers Heavy Brexit Vote Defeat

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 23: Prime Minister Theresa May leaves Downing Street on March 23, 2017 in London, England. The British Prime Minister Theresa May spoke last night after a terrorist attack took place in Westminster, saying Parliament would meet as normal today and 'We will come together as normal'. …
Jack Taylor/Getty

Theresa May could resign as Prime Minister if she suffers a defeat on her Brexit vote in the triple digits, a Cabinet source has suggested.

The House of Commons vote on Mrs May’s EU Withdrawal Agreement is expected to take place between 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Tuesday night. It is widely anticipated to be voted down including with reports that more than 112 Tory MPs could oppose it.

Sky News predicts that only around 198 MPs will vote for the deal (192 Conservatives, three rebel Labour Party MPs, and three independents), while 423, comprised of rebel Tories, Labour, Liberal Democrats, the Scottish National Party (SNP), Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), and others are expected to vote against, with Mrs May facing a potential 225-vote defeat.

Labour has said that their leader Jeremy Corbyn will immediately call for a vote of confidence in the Government if the vote fails, with the no-confidence vote likely to take place on Wednesday. A General Election could then be on the books if that vote passes.

However, it has been suggested by a Cabinet source that the Prime Minister may resign if her vote fails tonight.

“If she loses by more than 100 votes, and it looks like there is no way of persuading more than a few Tory rebels to change their minds, that would be pretty disastrous for the PM and hard for her to carry on,” a Cabinet source told The Telegraph.

“But if she lost by 100 or so votes and there were 80 or 90 rebels who might change their mind if she could get something meaningful from Brussels, then it’s possible she could stay on.”

Such a defeat of 225 would break the record set in 1924 when Ramsay MacDonald’s Labour minority government lost a vote by 166 votes.

Other ministers have told the Telegraph that Mrs May would stay to fight on — as she did after surviving a party no-confidence vote, saying she was determined to stay on to “deliver Brexit” — and return to Brussels to beg the Eurocrats for a renegotiation before attempting a second vote in the House, in a tight timeframe before the United Kingdom is supposed to officially leave the EU on March 29th.

In an attempt to convert Brexiteer Tories opposed to the deal, she threatened that losing to vote could result in a Corbyn-led Labour government, but The Times reported that only half of Tory MPs turned up to Mrs May’s meeting on the eve of the vote to hear her out.

One MP present on Monday night told The Times her performance was “competent but not transformative” and she “mostly rehearsed the arguments she has been rehearsing for months.”

Former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab MP told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that his position on the deal had not changed, and that he still maintains they are “bad terms which would haunt us for years to come.”

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